So, you’re pregnant?! Congratulations!! This will be one of the most, if not THE most transformational experiences of your life.
Being a little pregnant is a BIG deal because your life, as you know it, is turned upside down overnight…in the most amazing way possible. You will not experience such a powerful shift in your life until you are holding your precious baby in your arms several months from now. This baby has chosen you to be its mother, a most awesome responsibility, and it requires a level of work, dedication, and perseverance that you have not experienced yet.
A level of intensity that only a mother can manage.
And you, my dear, are already a mother so let’s dive into 5 ways you can support yourself through this transition!
- You are already a mother. Contrary to popular belief, the role of mother does not begin after the birth of your baby. In fact, it doesn’t even begin after conception. It begins when your soul calls for your baby, yearns for the unconditional love and connection that only a baby can provide. The call may be conscious or unconscious, however, your baby heard the call and has made its appearance as a tiny embryo in your womb. This mental shift of wearing the title of mother is important because it will support you in all of the important decisions you have to make for the rest of the pregnancy. Learning how to tap into your maternal intuition and staying true to its guidance is paramount as you begin to face new choices each and every day. These choices range from what you decide to eat for dinner all the way to who will deliver your baby and provide prenatal care that is in alignment with your personal philosophy.
- Finding the Right Provider: Speaking of baby delivering, did you know that you can actually interview different birth providers? Some women, after finding they are pregnant, continue to see their ob/gyn who has provided annual exams and other gynecological care over the years. Providing gynecological care is actually quite different than pregnancy care, therefore, taking the time to research other birth providers, including midwives, along with the facility where you would like to give birth is worth it. Find out the C-section rate for these providers as well as the hospitals or birthing centers where they work. Check out their reviews from other women who have used their services. Talk to local girlfriends about whether they loved their birth provider for references. This is important to determine who is the best fit to support your pregnancy journey from a medical perspective along with actually helping your baby transition into the world on its birth day.
- Building Your Birth Team: Once you’ve found a provider, it’s time to assemble your birth team! Although your birth provider is foundational to the birth team and needs to be selected first, get suggestions for birth doulas, prenatal massage therapists, prenatal yoga instructors/fitness trainers, hypnobirthing specialists, maternity chiropractors, acupuncturists, and lactation consultants. Although you will not need to work with all of these providers right now, you can start creating a list of contacts to follow up with, especially going into your second trimester (and I’ll have a guide for you when you get there, sign-up for my newsletter to get on the list!).
- How is Your Current Lifestyle Supporting Your Pregnancy? Start a diet diary to track exactly what you are putting in your mouth throughout the day and after a week, evaluate where you can make improvements. In your diary, take note of how often you are moving your body as well. If you work at a computer all day, see if you can get a standing desk to allow you to encourage leg strength and open hips which definitely come in handy during birth. Work with a fitness professional trained in maternity strength training to stay physically strong throughout your pregnancy. Consulting with a nutritionist can help you make the best choices regarding your diet which literally is what is creating your unborn baby. Minimizing or eliminating processed foods, especially sugar, gluten, and dairy, helps decrease systemic inflammation within your body along with learning what foods you may have an intolerance (track any symptoms you feel on your diet diary to help identify allergic/intolerant foods). Baby’s brain needs a lot of good fats for its development so don’t shy away from avocados, flaxseed oil, cold-water fish like salmon (about once a week due to mercury/PCBs), and coconut oil. Quality protein food like pastured eggs, grass-fed meat, and bone broth also help with your immune system strength along with energy. Eating a plate full of color ensures that you are getting a diversity of phytonutrients from vegetables. Lastly, enjoy fruit in moderation and to aid in digestion, eat 30 minutes before a meal or two hours after eating.
- Pregnancy Product Clean Out! Let’s take a look at your personal skin care products, specifically what ingredients are used to make them. As our skin is the largest organ in our body, everything we put on our skin gets absorbed into our bloodstream and even crosses the umbilical cord to the baby. Therefore, being a conscious consumer of products to clean your home and body, makes a big difference in decreasing the chemical load within your body (and therefore, decreasing baby’s exposure to possibly toxic ingredients). A helpful resource in sorting through the thousands of products on the market and helping to distinguish what is actually safe (despite their best marketing angle) is the Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) along with their useful app called SkinDeep that allows you to scan all of the products at the store (or even under your sink) to distinguish what is worthy of your application or deserves to be trashed.
These five tips are meant to help you get started on your journey. For more tips, advice and to connect with moms just like you? Follow me on Instagram! And don’t forget to sign-up for my newsletter to stay connected through this incredible, beautiful journey.